Try This!

Yes, You Can!  Dye Silk in a Microwave!

by Ursula Schroter


(c) copyright Ursula Schroter


(c) copyright Ursula Schroter


(c) copyright Ursula Schroter

The final product from the crash method!

The final product from the crash method!


Building Your Own Stretcher with PVC Pipes

by Nadja Lancelot


Easter Eggs Dyed with Herbs, Onions and Edible Flowers

by Olivia Batchelder

Start with white eggs

Small scraps of white silk, about 5″ square


Gather natural coloring materials (various herbs) and wash in cold water, then snip off leaves into small piles.  Reserve edible flowers for later.  Be sure to collect plants and flowers that have not been sprayed with pesticides, and if there are insects on them, remove all traces of insects.

Red onion skins
Yellow onion skins
Cilantro leaves
Fennel leaves
Rosemary Sprigs
Any other edible plant with small leaf parts

Moistne the onion skins. Lay out a silk scrap, and place on larger onion skin on the silk, then an egg on top of that.  Put in one or more herb leaves positioned beneath the onion skin.  Most herbs will not color the eggs, but will leave  a resist imprint of their shape.  The part of the egg covered by the onion skin will pick up rust or brown colors.  Add other small bits of onion skin to the packet, then gently pull the silk up around the egg and herbs, and bind as tightly as you can without breaking the egg. Tie with twine. Set aside and tie up another egg until you have a bunch for boiling.

Place al the egg bundles in a pan of cold water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Then heat the water to boiling and simmer 10 minutes.  REmve the pan from the heat and allow to cool naturally until you can put your hand in.  REmove the egg bundles and unwrap them.

To add other flower colors, use and additional cold wrap. Flowers are more delicate than leaves, especially the purple or red ones, so this method is to pull color out of the edible flowers and onto your eggs.  After boiling, but while the eggs are still very warm, remove all the herb material from the silk and add small edible flowers –herb flowers, rose petals, nasturtium flowers, pansies, lavender, and more.

Place 1 or 2 flowers on the white parts of the dyed egg and wrap it up again in the damp silk.  Place in the refridgerator for a few days.  Then unwrap and celebrate Easter!  The silk wrappings can be used in other projects.

NOTE: Most plant dyes are more successful on protein materials than cellulose ones, hence good color on both eggs and silk.  Cotton doesn’t work as well.

Photo: Voilla....eggs dyes via nature.... so peaceful

A few finished eggs with the dyestuffs: red onion skins, yellow onion skins, cilantro and fennel leaves

An egg showing detail from the cilantro and fennel “resists” and red onion skin dye

Pop Up Sponge Stamping on Silk

by Suzanne Knight

pop-up sponges


Draw on sponge with marking pen.  Cut out image with scissors.

Thicken paint or dye on a flat palette.  I use either Jaquard paint (heatset) or Tinsilk Dye  or Dupont Dye  (both steamset) color.  I use sodium algenate to thicken color to a runny paste.

Dampen the sponge to “grow” it.  Don’t saturate sponge with water.

Apply thickened paint to sponge with another sponge brush or a small paintbrush.  Be sure to get paint on all the edges of the stamp.  Don’t get too much paint on the stamp.  You want to see the little holes in the sponge in your stamped image.

Stamp your silk on a clean, flat, hard surface.  If you aren’t stamping white or ecru silk, be aware of what color your combination will result in.  For instance, if you are stamping with red dye on a yellow surface….duh…you’ll get an orange image.

Immediately after the stamp, put the sponge in a bowl of water and squeeze it a little.  Keep the stamp as clean and color free as possible for storage.

Try triple loading the sponge with color for a variation.

Freezer Paper instead of a Stretcher

by Suzanne Knight

This is so easy, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with a stretcher.

1. Select your piece of silk and cut a piece of freezer paper (found with the aluminum foil and plastic baggies in the grocery store) to the correct size.  If your piece of silk is too big, just cut a few pieces of freezer paper until you can piece together the right size.  They will stick together during ironing, but if you want to tape the back, that is fine, too.

2. Set the iron on wool…NO STEAM.

3.Put the freezer paper down on the ironing board.

4. Lay the silk directly on top of the freezer paper.

5. Iron the silk  to the  shiny/waxy side of the paper.  Put the non waxy side down on the ironing board, lay the silk on top and  press the silk on to the paper. Iron directly ON the silk.  Don’t linger on any one spot, but don’t exactly race either.  Lift the corner of the silk to see if it has adhered to the paper. It will stick to the /shiny waxy side.  If the paper sticks to the ironing board, you have the wrong side up…duh!!!  Not a big thing…lift it off, turn it over and do it right!!!

6. Turn the whole piece over and press the back also.  Same speed.  You should see the paper crinkle slightly.    That’s ok.  As long as the silk has adhered to the paper, you are good to go.  The purpose is to stabalize the piece so it doesn’t slip around while you paint.

If you miss a spot in the middle, the paint may puddle.  If you get a crease in the silk, the paint may crease there too.  You want a smooth surface, so try for no creases or bubbles.  If you aren’t happy with the work rip it off the freezer paper and do it OVER again …that’s ok.  If you get it TOO adhered and silk gets stuck to the paper, it will eventually come off in the either steamer or the wash process.  If you don’t like this process, you can always use the stretcher systems, but I am willing to bet you will love this…..

Oh, If the iron touches the paper, no big deal.  If the paper gets ironed to the board, no big deal.  It’s basically only waxed paper and harmless.